Manavjit, Imran nail quota

Manavjit, Imran nail quota

Shooting Asian Championships

Indians finish on a high, take number of Olympic berths to eleven

Manavjit Singh SandhuAce marksman Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Imran Hassan Khan grabbed an Olympic quota each on the final day of the Asian Shooting Championships, ending India’s long wait here.

Manavjit dished out a vintage performance in testing conditions to win gold as well as an Olympic quota for India in trap while Imran gave the country a London Games berth in the 50M rifle 3-position event.

Imran finished fifth but as all the other shooters above him had already bagged Olympic quotas, the qualifying spot for the London Olympics came his way.

The Indians also won the team gold and silver in the 50M rifle 3-position and trap respectively.

Sanjeev Rajput, who has already booked a ticket to London, won gold in the in the 3-position event. Gagan Narang, who has also qualified for the London Games, battled his way to bronze in the same event to bring cheer in the Indian camp.

Manavjit’s triumph made it a memorable outing for India as the country finished with seven gold in the senior category. His gold made it a haul of 11 quotas for India, the highest number ever since quota places were introduced.

The world champion in 2006, Manavjit banked on his experience to come through a tough qualifying round and did not relinquish the overnight lead. Starting the day with a score of 49/50, Manavjit shot rounds of 25, 24 and 24 to qualify for the final in first place.

So dominant was his performance that the next shooter who qualified for the final was five points behind him at 117. Despite the cushion, Manavjit started shakily in the final, dropping four of the first seven targets. However, he soon hit his stride as the other shooters failed to cope with the extremely windy conditions. The Indian shot 17/25 to finish with an overall score of 139/150 to bag the gold.

The silver went to Talal Al Rashidi of Kuwait with a score of 134 after shooting 117 in the qualifying. Rashid-al-Athba of Qatar bagged the final podium place along with the Olympic quota with a score of 132.

Veteran Mansher Singh, who won the trap gold at the Asian Shotgun Championships in last November, could not repeat his heroics and bowed out of contention with a score of 107 to finish 20th. Kynan Chenai finished 18th having shot one point more than Mansher at 108.

In the 3-position event, Rajput totalled 1148 in the qualification and shot 93 in the final for a total of 1241 for the gold. Korea’s Kim Jonghyun won the silver with a total of 1238.3 while Narang, who shot 98 in the final after a 1134 in the qualification, sealed the bronze with a total of 1232.

National coach Sunny Thomas was a relieved man. “The quota was eluding us. It was so windy today, the conditions were extremely difficult. We got three gold, a silver and a bronze and two quota places. I can’t ask for more,” he said. “Team for the Olympics (rifle and pistol) will be announced on January 23. Now the priority will be the Olympics. I am not concerned about the performance in three World Cups this season.

“ In my view, the shooters who have made the Olympics should be exempted for national trials and should be free to do practice and train where they want.”

Earlier in the day, Pemba Tamang shot 583 to be involved in a three-man shoot-off for silver in the centre fire pistol. However, he missed out in the tie-shoot and finished fourth.